Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A look at the athletic Eagles offensive line



Since Chip Kelly was hired and even moreso since he's started OTAs, NFL pundits have been scrambling to figure him out. Those who weren't avid followers of Oregon are now going back to watch film to look for certain themes from Chip's offense there that he'll likely transfer to the NFL.

While we've already seen a hint at some of his plans with the influx of TEs this offseason, the one thing every seems to have agreed on from the start is that Chip is going to need an athletic offensive line. As Gary Horton of ESPN.com points out, he was fortunate to inherit one here in Philadelphia.

All of this potential success in running the football is dependent on something that people do not talk about. You must have an athletic offensive line that can block in space and get to the second level, something Kelly had at Oregon and now has in Philadelphia. Four of the five projected starters up front (including No. 4 overall pick Lane Johnson) run under 5.00 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and they get out and block on the move. Not only must they be athletic, though, but they also have to be in great physical shape to run the volume of plays that they will be asked.

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The Eagles offensive line does have guys that can move. I decided to check out Horton's assertion about their 40 times and he's right. Here are the 40 times of the projected starters.

LT - Jason Peters - 4.95

LG - Evan Mathis - 4.92

C - Jason Kelce - 4.93

RG - Todd Herremans - 5.22

RT - Lane Johnson - 4.72

Danny Watkins, who also has a shot at the RG job, ran a 5.36.

Obviously the 40 yard dash is not the only measure of an offensive lineman's athleticism, it does appear to be a pretty decent reflection of the reality we've seen. We know that what made Jason Kelce so valuable in the 2nd half of his rookie season was his ability to pull out and run in Howard Mudd's zone scheme. We know that Jason Peters is able to get out in front of backs in space better than Todd Herremans.

So assuming these guys all get healthy and stay that way... Kelly certainly seems to have the horses he needs up front.

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